The TruTV show, Adam Ruins Everything, is controversially tackling the subject of “online dating.” Season 2, Episode 4, airing on Tuesday, is titled, “Adam Ruins Dating.” The episode seeks to debunk sites that use scientific methods for matchmaking, the biggest being eHarmony.com. Adam Ruins Everything launches an attack against eHarmony and its founder in the episode. But in the interest of avoiding a larger controversy, the show discloses that the production company that produces Adam Ruins Everything is associated with the parent company of Match.com and OKCupid.
SEE ALSO: 33,000 eHarmony Marriages a Year
Here is a clip from Season 2, Episode 4 airing on August 1, 2017.
Adam Ruins Everything Clip – Why Dating Sites Aren’t Scientific at All
Adam Ruins Everything is produced by CollegeHumor. CollegeHumor is owned by IAC, which also owns Match.com, Chemistry.com, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, and eight other online dating services. The clip they released early launches a scathing attack against eHarmony while barely touching IAC-owned dating services. It remains to be seen if the full episode expands its attacks to equally include IAC-owned properties.
Possible conflict of interest aside, attacks against eHarmony for its scientific claims aren’t new. In 2014, an article in CSI – The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, sought further clarification from eHarmony on its scientific claims. The article is titled, “Sweet Science of Seduction or Scam? Evaluating eHarmony” and the following expert questions the validity of eHarmony’s claims:
Oddly, no references to studies scientifically validating eHarmony’s methods appear on the company’s website. Nor was I able to find any published research in an online literature review. There is actually very little available information about eHarmony’s methods, which raised a troubling question in the mind of Robert Epstein, a contributing editor to Scientific American Mind: “Why would a major company such as eHarmony, which claims to have 12 million members, not subject its ‘scientific, 29-dimension’ test to a scientific validation process?” (Epstein 2007). He noted that eHarmony representatives presented a paper in 2004 that claimed eHarmony couples were happier than couples who met through other means, “But this paper still has not been published, possibly because of its obvious flaws.” Four years after Epstein wrote that, there still appeared to be little or no data on eHarmony’s methods.
The New York Times also wonders why eHarmony isn’t releasing more scientific information. Here’s an excerpt from a 2013 article titled, “A Match Made in the Code:”
To verify the algorithm’s effectiveness, the critics said, would require a randomized controlled clinical trial like the ones run by pharmaceutical companies. Randomly assign some individuals to be matched by eHarmony’s algorithm, and some in a control group to be matched arbitrarily; then track the resulting relationships to see who’s more satisfied.
“Nobody in the world has the treasure chest of resources for relationships research that eHarmony has,” Dr. Finkel said, “so we can’t figure out why they haven’t done the study.”
The Adam Ruins Everything clip doesn’t just try to debunk eHarmony’s scientific methods, but it also goes directly after eHarmony’s founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren. Using an impersonator, they jokingly refer to him as a “love grandpa.” Within seconds, Adam states:
“The problem is, he’s not a scientist. We looked and we couldn’t find a single scientific article written by Dr. Warren on relationships, compatibility, or marriage published in a peer-reviewed journal.”
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The Dr. Neil Clark Warren impersonator then responds, “didn’t have time; too busy getting my cheeks dimpled.”
Adam Ruins Everything isn’t new to controversy, which is part of the appeal of the show. The weekly half-hour show takes popular concepts and seeks to debunk them in humorous and creative ways. Adam Ruins Everything has tackled subjects like voting, nutrition, football, death, housing, going green, and immigration. The show generally tries to popularize an unpopular view of the subjects.
eHarmony has long maintained there being a “science” to the way they match people. And on June 30, 2016, the then Director of Data Science at eHarmony, Dr. Jonathan Morra, gave a 1 hour presentation, at the Hollywood Data Science: Meetup, on the science behind eHarmony’s matchmaking. Here’s the presentation:
The full episode of “Adam Ruins Everything: Adam Ruins Dating” airs on Tuesday, August 1, at 10pm on TruTV.
Editor’s Note: August 2, 2017: The episode aired last night and more time was spent attacking eHarmony than any other dating service despite the clear conflict of interest. IAC-owned sites were mostly glossed over or not mentioned. eHarmony is the biggest competitor to IAC-owned dating services.
The TV Show Adam Ruins Everything attacked eHarmony despite its connections with IAC, Match.com’s parent company…
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